Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ponte Santa Trinita Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

My father has often shared his belief that while a sunset may be beautiful, it cannot compare with a sunset shared.  While I appreciate this as true, I struggle with it as well.  So much of my life has been spent alone and far too many mystical and gorgeous experiences exist now only in my own memory.  When friends and family get together after a long time apart, they often relive shared times as a way to reinforce the bond between hearts.   One new to the group may recognize the warmth of those connected, but often feels left out a bit.

Until recently, I used to live very close to Piazza Santo Spirito in Florence, Italy.  I lived in an old palazzo with a lovely corridor featuring a Della Robbia-looking (I never verified), ceramic Madonna and Child relief sculpture balconies, arched doorways and a tiny staircase winding up the inside that led to a wonderful rooftop terrace.  One former flatmate told me that he had seen the ghost who frequented our building.  She has a good energy though, and was not intimidating at all.

Piazza Santo Spirito is named after the basilica that oversees all of the neighborhood’s activities… it is one of the liveliest squares in all of Florence, day and night.  A large fountain is the centerpiece for this square and there are trees and even flowers to be seen by all (an unusual sight since most greenery in Florence is contained within the city blocks in private courtyards and one can only have an idea of what Firenze is all about by peeking in through the occasional open door).  This neighborhood is on the Oltrarno side, which means the “other side” of the Arno River, the side with fewer tourists and more artisans at work.  It is not always pretty, but I have loved living there. 

For the past three or so months, my life has unexpectedly been altered with an Italian drama involving tax evasion, blackmail, and a few sordid characters.  Ultimately, my fellow foreigner flatmate and I were evicted from our home so that the war between our Florentine landladies and our Florentine flatmate could commence in full force.  I do not even want to know what that means anymore and only feel a great sadness at being evicted because “I was too nice.”  Anyway, for all of the negativity that cost me lots of work time and my health a bit, I am relatively happy in my new place and look forward to healthier living conditions and friendships.

All that said, I live on the opposite side of the city and I miss the green.  I miss the access to 5-euro aperitivo that includes a glass of wine and more food and in a greater healthy variety than a single person could enjoy at home for anything near that price – and with no dishwashing!  The people-watching in Santo Spirito is hard to beat.  But mostly, I miss the easy access to the Trinita bridge over the nearby Arno River.  It has become my favorite spot for watching sunsets.  Sure, I can ride my bike there anytime I want, but I have a lot of work to catch up on and somehow it just seems easier to stay in my own place and get something done.

So, I hope you enjoy this mixed media painting that I made.  Creating art is the best way I know how to share some of my cherished and often solitary joys with you.  Florentine Sunset is a 12” x 16” painting from a view from the Ponte Santa Trinita.  It is available through the Franklin Barry Gallery in Indianapolis, USA. 

Other “cityscapes” can be seen here:>. 

Incidentally, for all of the negative things I experienced in this past housing situation, there were other people who helped me with information, advice, and even just listening.  Also, several offered and shared with me their homes while my life was in limbo.  Although I was sad to leave, I was also relieved to have it all overwith, and now feel a whole lot of gratitude to long-time and new friends (foreigners and Italians, even Florentines).  Thanks everyone who has been a part of making my life positive!    
~Kelly Borsheim, artist